India is marking one year in a celebratory mood since launching it 1st mission to Mars. To celebrate one year in Mars, ISRO has compiled some of Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)’s best images, interesting scientific results collected by five payloads of MOM and put them in a 120-page “Mars Atlas.”
The atlas compiles images attained by Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and results compiled by other payload results in a form of a scientific atlas.
The Mars Orbiter arrived at the Red Planet on the night of September 23 and 24, 2014. This was the first interplanetary probe ever launched by India, making India the only country to have succeeded in reaching Mars in its first attempt.
The success of this mission earned India a place in the list of countries that have launched missions to Mars.
MOM, a creation of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), is equivalent to NASA, with similar missions to space. It is seen as the first of India’s mission to explore the outer space beyond its home planets and was designed in less than two years.
The spacecraft was primarily designed as a technology demonstrator but was also fitted with special scientific instruments. MOM collected data on morphology, atmospheric processes, surface geology, atmospheric escape process and surface temperature while carrying five science instruments.
In its first year, the India’s spacecraft, which is fitted with a color camera, achieved its goals of capturing breathtaking images and collecting scientific measurements of the planet. The spacecraft is also fitted with a methane gas sniffer, to assist in the study of the atmosphere, surface environments, morphology and mineralogy of the Red planet.
Methane on Earth originates from both geological and biological sources – and could be a potential marker for the existence of Martian microbes.
Initially, MOM’s mission was to last 6 months. However, its operations were extended by an additional 6 months, and further extensions are likely according to ISRO officials. This is considered necessary to help continue studying Mars and, therefore, might stay long enough to welcome a sister craft to Mars orbit.
India is further planning to launch a Mangalyaan 2 mission between 2018 and 2020.